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Céilidh or Ceilidh – A Great Wedding Party

Céilidh or Ceilidh – A Great Wedding Party

Looking for reasons to book a Ceilidh band for a wedding? You shouldn't need any! ...But we've put together a list to remind you of the benefits of hiring a Ceilidh band anyway.... Read on to find out more and for the full roster please visit our ceilidh bands page here.

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When you want your guests to all dance together, from youngest nephew to greatest of great aunts, nothing beats a traditional ceilidh and a ceilidh wedding band for hire to provide the tunes!

'Ceilidh' ( ceilidh pronunciation), is simply an old word for a community dance, and you'll find that ceilidhs are part of a rich traditional of get-togethers and good nights out in Ireland, Scotland, England and the USA too.

Ceilidh dances are a sort of cross between line dancing, a barn dance and traditional folk dancing, except much faster and much more entertaining, as you and your guests do all the dancing! The great feature of a ceilidh is that absolutely no experience is required or expected, so anyone can join in regardless of age, experience and dancing ability. Which, of course, makes ceilidh music the perfect entertainment for a wedding!

Introducing Ceilidh Wedding Bands

At the heart of every wedding Ceilidh is the ceilidh band, traditionally a small group of folk musicians who play acoustic instrument such as accordions, guitars, pipes and fiddles (violins). Today's modern ceilidh bands often add in keyboards, electric guitar, drums or bass, and venture beyond the traditional folk-based ceilidh music into more contemporary tunes.

All ceilidh wedding bands, large or small, trad or modern, will include a caller. The caller's job is to 'call' the dances, that is, teach everyone the steps, then shout them out during the dance so everyone knows what to do next. Of course everyone forgets, doesn't listen and the result is mass chaos for a few minutes! Then everyone gets the hang of it, starts to relax and the room is suddenly filled with galloping wedding guests!

What Happens At A Wedding Ceilidh?

Your ceilidh band will play a traditional ceilidh wedding first dance if you wish, or a first dance tune of your choice from an iPod, and then ease you guests into dancing with a few simple dances to start with.

The caller will get onto the dance floor with your guests, arrange everyone into circles or lines, and teach them the steps. The band will first play the dance tune slowly while everyone find their feet, and the caller will sort out any resulting minor collisions or confusions. The caller will then retreat back to the safety of the stage and their microphone (!), and the dance proper will start. It's all very relaxed, very informal and terrific fun.

Ceilidh Dances: What's In A Name?

Each dance has a set format and a name steeped in its origins and history, including Strip the Willow, The Big Set Mixer, Bridge of Athlone, The Oxo Reel, La Rouse, The Circassian Circle, Cottagers Jig, Cumberland Square 8, Dashing White Sergeant, and The Gay Gordons. How long is a wedding ceilidh?

The ceilidh band will usually play for around an hour of dancing in their first set, by which time most of your guests will not so much want as NEED a sit down and a cool drink! An ideal start time is 8.30pm, so you can tell your caterers and/or bar staff to be ready for a 9.30pm bun rush…

During the break, you can either serve your wedding buffet, or if people have already eaten, cut your wedding cake and allow people to enjoy the bar and have a good chat. Just remember, if you do serve food, leave plenty of digesting time before starting the dancing again, as the second half ceilidh dances are always faster and use up more energy than the first half!

Most wedding bands will start their second at around 10.30pm, to finish before midnight and give everyone time for a final chat and drink.

Why Have A Ceilidh Band At Your Wedding?

Here are our top five reasons for having a ceilidh band at your wedding

1. Everyone Is Included

And we mean everyone. Some people may be shy at first, but they'll get enticed onto the dance floor by their friends and before you know it, they'll be dashing about with the best of them. The only people you'll see sitting out dances at a ceilidh are those having a quick rest or drink before the next dance starts!

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2. Ditch The Small Talk

Ceilidhs bands are the ultimate cross-generation entertainment for weddings where family and friends meet, sometimes for the first time. Since everyone swaps dance partners all the time, you'll soon see your school friends, work colleagues, BFFs, parents, ageing relatives and and young cousins dancing together and having the best time. And no small talk required.

3. It's A Great Workout!

Now this might seem an odd selling point, but after your guests have driven for hours through traffic to your wedding, sat through a wedding ceremony, a three-course meal and the speeches, they'll want to stretch their legs, especially the younger generations. A ceilidh ensures everyone has the chance to work off all that food (and champers) and enjoy themselves too.

4. Traditional Or High Energy Fusion: Your Choice

Just because a ceilidh is a traditional dance, it doesn't mean that all ceilidh music has to be traditional! Today's modern ceilidh wedding bands take traditional folk tunes and formats by the scruff of the neck and make them their own, and mix in modern tunes too. Check out the demo tracks of top wedding ceilidh bands such as The Gypsy Rogues, Rabscallion, and Arran Maiden, and you'll see what we mean!

5. Terrific Value For Money

With a wedding ceilidh, you get two hours of non-stop dancing, top professional musicians playing live, and the thrill of seeing everyone quite literally kicking off their shoes and letting their hair down. A wedding ceilidh is fast, fun, a little wild and remarkably satisfying, and a brilliant ceilidh band can be hired for as little as £800. Most bands will provide background music played from am iPod in between their sets, and some even offer a DJ option – a real bargain.

For more details on booking a top ceilidh band for your wedding, just browse through the ceilidh bands and Irish band here at Alive Network. Listen to some demos, choose the style you like best, and you can check their availability for your wedding day instantly online. If they are free, book them - the best ceilidh wedding bands gets booked up well in advance.

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